Golden Days picks up from last week and the agents are searching for Yaniv who has escaped with the gold bar he stole from Hetty’s former colleagues, AJ Chegwidden, Sterling Bridges and Charles Langston. When one of Yaniv’s men is kidnapped, the team renew their search, assisted and somewhat hindered by the older men.
Not all of the team are involved as Deeks has his own side line of a story with Whiting; she has called and wants to meet him. Since the mole trilogy of episodes, and in the knowledge that Whiting survived her shooting, Deeks’ fate has hung in the balance. Will she remember his confession? Will she use it to arrest him or forget about it, as Deeks saved her life. He confides in Kensi during the opening scenes and takes strength from her, and her father’s words of wisdom. The love between them is so strong they seem unbreakable, although they may fall out about house flipping!
The scenes between the two show that Whiting is just as tenacious as ever as she draws out the inevitable conversation for as long as possible, making Deeks wonder at her end game. The upshot is that corruption is running high in LAPD and Lieutenant Bates is now in Whiting’s sights. She is willing to close Deeks’ IA investigation is he helps her when the time comes. For several seasons, the show runners have teased that Deeks would return to LAPD and this would provide the perfect reason, and with numerous storylines sown up recently (e.g. Callen’s father), it plants seeds to be harvested in future seasons.
This season of NCIS Los Angeles has regularly shaken up the partnerships and this time, in order to keep the old guys under control, Callen decides they will accompany each of the team members. Chegwidden gets a head start on Kensi and steals her car so she has to catch an Uber. Sam picks Sterling as his stakeout partner – maybe as he reminds him of Callen in the way he continually and seemingly deliberately annoys him. Callen is left with Langston whose idea of filling time on a stakeout is spitting out shells from the countless nuts he eats. The irony of how Callen winds Sam up on stakeouts (e.g. when eating tootsie pops and throwing the wrappers on the dashboard) does seem to be lost on him. One thing the agents do agree on is that they will both shoot each other, before they reach that old age, higher level of partner annoyance.
Whilst the scenes were amusing there was frustration in the way the three older men seemed to have no respect for the law and the NCIS team, although at times the hypocrisy of the agents was interesting. Chegwidden, Sterling and Langston put the word out that Yaniv was trying to move gold in order to restrict his movements and enable them to find him. In season six, Sam had a similar conversation with Callen, after Callen out the word out about Matthias, hoping to flush him out and capture (kill?) him before he could reach Hetty. This was conveniently forgotten, but to have reminded Callen of his actions would undermine their attempts to control the older guys. They comment that Sam and Callen are about as “subtle as a massive coronary” and later refer to them as flower children for wanting to protect their prisoner’s civil rights. Kensi does seem to come to an understanding with Chegwidden and the earlier tension does not reappear.
There were predictable set pieces for example when Sam allows Sterling out of the car for food during the stakeout and he subsequently tries to take down their suspect. Callen and Sam arrested the gang members of the Xionshou Song, discuss their next move openly then order Sterling and Langston to remain with the restrained gang until LAPD arrive, all with two motorbikes in shot. It was quite obvious it was the old chaps who rode to the rescue when Sam and Callen were pinned down under fire at Burbank airport.
The older generation again allow for memories of Granger to surface. He is now spoken about in the past tense despite no confirmation of his passing. During the stakeout, Langston tells Callen a wild story about Obi-Wan, who turns out to be Granger; Callen does not recognise him from the description of his antics. He is referenced again in the closing scene which sees Hetty, Chegwidden, Sterling and Langston raising a glass to their fallen colleague. They will continue to help the good guys and kill the bad guys, before they each pass away. The stage is set for these characters to re-appear in the future, and on a sombre note, to allow the older characters to pass.
Sterling: Gonna miss seeing that ugly old mug.
Hetty: If you can’t see him in every one of us, you’re not trying hard enough.
Chegwidden: To Owen
Hetty: To Owen
Langston: Gonna be more unattended glasses in the coming years.
Chegwidden: That’s why we gotta make the most of the time we have left above ground. A lot of vets that need help out there.
Langston: And then, there’s what Owen would have wanted us to do.
Sterling: Kill bad guys.
Hetty: Well gentlemen, we certainly have the means. There’s no reason we can’t do both.
What did you think about the old guard versus the new guard? Should anything sinister be read in to Hetty’s words? And how will Whiting ask Deeks’ to help take down Bates?